Mečys Laurinkus. The NATO meeting in Vilnius will be historic, but what will we have to prepare for afterwards?

Lithuania expects the NATO Summit in Vilnius to be a historic event. Lithuanian diplomats are actively involved in shaping an ambitious agenda for the Summit, which should centre on a particularly transparent and clear path for Ukraine's membership of NATO.

Mečys Laurinkus.
Mečys Laurinkus.
Daugiau nuotraukų (1)

Lrytas.lt

May 10, 2023, 8:31 AM

This is not the first time Lithuania has attempted to participate meaningfully in international fora. From 1 July to 29 December 2013, Lithuania held the Presidency of the Council of the EU. In November of the same year, the Eastern Partnership Summit was held in Vilnius at the Palace of the Grand Dukes.

It was publicly announced that during the Summit, the then-leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, would sign an Association Agreement with the EU. On the day when the arrival of the Ukrainian President was expected, I had the opportunity to discuss it on a political programme on LRT. The invited panellists unanimously predicted that Mr Yanukovych would sign. He did not.

It seems that the negative decision of the President of Ukraine was already known in advance to the participants in this meeting. But neither Lithuanian President Grybauskaitė nor the most influential EU politician, German Chancellor Merkel, publicly stated that not signing was a tragedy and that it could happen later, and in 2016 this was realised. And so much blood over a trade document.

We know what happened after Yanukovych's 'no' in Vilnius, and we are anxiously speculating eight years later about what will happen next. The duration and clarity of the stages of Ukraine's path towards NATO will depend on the end of the war. More specifically, on the outcome of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, which is already being announced by the hour.

If Russia holds on after decisive battles in the territory it annexed and seized, NATO's top brass in Vilnius will be faced with many questions about what to do next.

As I write these lines, a drone has exploded (said to have been shot down) over the Senate chamber in Moscow. Wow! If two drones can so easily fly through various modern barriers, why can't a hundred drones do it?

The foreign ministers of Lithuania and Latvia, referring to US experts, ridiculed the „drone operation against Putin“.

It may be an imitation, but I remember what happened in the Kremlin in 1987, when an engineer from West Germany, M. Rust, landed in Red Square in a tiny plane that flew past all the radars. The heads of the Soviet generals were rolling like cabbages.

In any case, even now, Russian military experts publicly admit that countermeasures against modern drones are limited. How this story, however artificial, will be used in Russia's war against Ukraine is anyone's guess.

One thing is certain: the coming summer will be full of extraordinary events.

The NATO meeting in Vilnius may be historical, but what will be left to prepare for afterwards? On a much lower level than the geopolitical, Vilnius residents will benefit greatly from a spectacular international forum in Vilnius – the new Mayor of the capital, V.Benkunskas, intends to asphalt the streets instead of patching them and to prevent guests from seeing bad sights through their windows.

The political cleanliness of the whole country is already a concern.

How, for example, will a guest at the NATO Forum feel when he finds out that the square outside his window is still named after P. Cvirka, even though the monument no longer exists? (I wonder where the artistically good one is now?)

And how many more Cvirka streets are there in Lithuania? It is not even worth asking about the S. Nėries gymnasiums, starting with Vilnius, schools and streets all over Lithuania. Excited politicians have hastily started to ban the propaganda of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and their ideologies at the level of law.

Simply put, without going into a debate on whether the prohibitions will also apply to the years of A. Smetona's authoritarian rule, the aim will be to mint street name plates with new names as soon as possible. I would advise you to choose the names of various plants. Eternal.

Political cleanliness is always associated with political transparency. 48 MPs propose declassifying the files of KGB collaborators from 1 January 2024 (currently classified for 75 years, until the first civilian flight to Mars.

Presumably to prevent the great-grandchildren of those who collaborated with the KGB from getting there).

A year ago, the idea of declassification was announced by the Polish Electoral Action for Lithuania – the Union of Christian Families. Now other members of the Seimas have joined in. When the Law on Lustration came into force on 1 February 2000, I, as the head of the DSS, had to participate in delegating a representative of the Department to the Lustration Commission.

Those who decided to carry out the citizen's duty under the law to tell the commission about their past by filling in a questionnaire were asked several times in their own way whether they were sure that what they would say would be kept secret by the State.

This assurance was given to the interviewee and repeated at the time of the confession: the State that had made the promise was certainly not going to deceive and would do the opposite.

One and a half thousand out of a large group of those who had collaborated with the KGB over the years under various circumstances confessed. They have provided a lot of valuable information about the context of their agreement to cooperate with the KGB.

As some politicians began to call for a reversal of the State's previous policy of secrecy, both for themselves and for the broader information they provided, the eyes of those who confessed popped out of their foreheads – the State had lied.

One Polish national bluntly told the author, „So what, you deceived us?“

If the ambition of the 48 Members of the European Parliament to make the confessors public (which is what they are consistently trying to do in the run-up to the elections) were to be realised, it would be a real compromise of the State.

It would mean that the State cannot be trusted. It can deceive on all issues.

I suggest that this provocation should not take in Lithuanian politicians.

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